Warkworth man admits attempted sex chat offence

A Warkworth man who was snared by undercover police after he tried to have sex chat with an underage teen has avoided jail.

By Alex Storey
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 2:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 2:47 pm

Iain Forrester, 67, began chatting to who he thought was a 13-year-old girl from Wales over the social media site Say Hi, but was actually in contact with officers from an undercover online safety team.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the conversation contained talk of meet ups and picnics, before it turned sexualised when they moved to WhatsApp.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said that Forrester was acting under a false name of Joe Buxton during the exchanges, which took place over three weeks in December 2020.

Newcastle Crown Court.

Mr Bunch said: "The defendant continued to talk about meeting up, saying they could go for a drive in his Range Rover and they could park up somewhere and he began to talk about the clothing she was wearing.”

The conversations began to turn sexual and Forrester talked about having ‘intercourse’ with her and that they would have to keep it a secret.

Mr Bunch said that contact between the pair ended on December 22, after he sent her his e-mail address.

Forrester, of New Barns Way, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Jane Foley, defending, said her client was of previous good character and is so far still together with his wife of 40 years.

Ms Foley said: “This is a man who is successful. He has a good job.

“His business' prospects lie in the balance because this defendant feels concerned that his business will not survive.

“He has children that are grown but the familial relationships will be severely impacted by what he has done.

“This defendant is devastated by what he has done and he is absolutely appalled by his behaviour.”

Mr Recorder Ian Mullarkey told Forrester that he would have known he was talking to a child at the time.

However, the judge acknowledged could suspend the inevitable term of imprisonment given the weighing mitigating features.

Forrester was sentenced to six months behind bars, suspended for one year.

He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and ten rehabilitation days.